tv Beyond the Headlines KOFY September 13, 2014 9:00pm-9:31pm PDT
welcome to "beyond the headlines", i'm cheryl jennings, each of the shs loks at early childhood development, the precious yearsetween birth and five years old. we know nurtufring young minds is key to ensuring a healthy and happy childhood. our guest shows us how the future of our society depends on our ability to develop this next generation. joining me in the studio is dr. ross thompson a distinguished professor of psychology. >> thank you for coming. >>my pleasure. >> you'reoing parent/child
development in the first three yea. tell us about that. >> we study parent/child relationships and our appreciation for the importance of what is going on in these every y encounters between a responsive adult and interested child. our appreciation of that is really grown bause of the work on early brain development because of the ways researchers andneuroscientists have focused on how explosive is the growth of thbrain in the early years of life and how much the brain grows as a result of how it's stimulated by social interacon like these, adults who are singing and otherwise being responsive to what achild's interests are. >> it's interesting because so many new parents wa to have the baby in a quiet room and don't say anything, don't take em around big crowds and i have other parents who take them out to baseball game >> that's right. >> that's a lot of stimulation. >> it is possible. it is -- you can overstimulate a young child and overstimulate anbody. the fact is that the brain is
ke a magnet for imulation. a good example of that, w know that 6-month-olds are figure tifly citizens of the world, they can make out language sounds at all in of the languages because e brain is ready to learn a language but the brn doesn't know whether the birth landed them in beijing on london. it has to be ready to learn language. all of that changes by 12 months when the child has lost that universal language learning ability. as a result of language they've been overhearing in those kinds of soal interactions. as a result of the brain rewires itself to lear the language that the child orlanguages the child has overheard. and this is the beginning of the vocabulary that te place in the second year. all of that in the first 18 months of life. >> you say as society, whave a serious challenge.
>> we do because there are two pieces of information that ought to concern . one is that the achievement gap appears as soon as child enters the school house door. we are seeing quite a significant difrence in language skills and mathematical skls between kids from most advantad and least advantaged omes. that's one concern. the other concern is equally significant. children's experience in school only widens that gap. it doesn't narrow it. school does not become the great equalizer of opportunity. takes the gap already there and it simply increases it. to close the achievement gap, we've got to start earlier, we already know by age 3 the number of words the children have who come from most advantaged homes are more than twice as large and vocabulary as children coming from the most disadvantaged
homes. children coming from advantaged family are hearing more language so their brain has more to work with in develong a vocabulary. now the research ishowing that that gap can appear as early as 18 months. >> when you'reorking with disadvantage the family, how do you -- i work with programs where they encourage us to come and read to these kids in day cae. but that's one thing. how do you get the families to get on board with that? >> that's true. because some parents are not convinced that this kindf interaction really makes a difference in the life of a child. part of the challenge is to take this research and to communicate it in a way that would really make sense to families and parents, whatever their background andwn experiences have been. i think that part of the challenge is that it's easy to underestimate how much the brain and mind are exploding in grth in the early years of life. it's partly because infants and toddlers are so tuned into the moment that they look really distractible and it's hard to ee the wheels turning.
what the research is showing us is that the quality of stimulation, the amount of child directed speech that occurs in the first few years of life really makes all the difference in the world. for the velopment of thinking skills and some indicaton it has to do -- contributes to the growth ofumber understanding for these children. it provides all of the seds that children need. and part of our challenge is to find ways o communicating that, especially parents who might not otherwise do it. >> i have to ask you about the screens, the ipad and ipod, all of these devices that we now have, i see little ones with these things and touching them and phones too, is that helping or hurting? >> it can do either. i was on an airplane trip last month where i was sitting next to an adorable -month-old for her child and she was captivated and i could see two reasons why, there was exciting stf going on in the screen and the parents were interacting with the child.
they were talking about whawas on the screen. inviting the child to tryout different things. they were using their voices to help the child understand a connection between the child's own actions and response of t screen. and that is consistent with what the research is showing us. that these screens can be helpful especially if they occur in the context of response of social interaction that goes on between and child and parent. in some respects it's the sam lesson years ago with respect to tv. watching a screen alone is not nearly as helpful as dng so interactively with a partner. >> we have about 15 seconds left. what do you want parents to take awayrom what you're telling us toy? >> what a child nds more than anything is an adult who is responsive, tuned in, focused and interacting with them. and in doing so, they are providing the foundation for the ild's later health j development. >> thanks f being here. when we comeback, we're going
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early childhood development. in the stud with me is diane levin, the chief deputy director of first five california celebrating its 15th anniversary. >> yes. >> thais phenomenal. >> for flks who don't know what it is, please explain. >> first five calirnia first came to be in 1998 when the passage of the ballot initiative called proposition 10. the whole focus was to find an additional funding stream to focus on children and their families in the earliest years, 0 to but without taking money fr other programs or from ducation. prop 10 created a 5 cent per pack tobacco tax and other tobacco products are taxed as well to create what bega as about a $700 million a year funding stream for the purpose of supporting and providing resources for education and
outreach to parents and young children. and so since tt time -- and we also prop 10 is also mandated to focus on smoking cessation. the good newss that we have suceded in, you know, smoking cessation, but the bad news is -- not bad news but the revenues from prop 10 have declined so it begans a $700 million a year proposition and down to just under 500 million >> do more with less. >> fewer people are smoking but you'r absolutely right. we have to do me with less. >> we have a great mpaign going on right now. i want to talk about brain search for very young children. ow is first five california talking about ths? >> you just heard from mark thomon, it's a very complex iss but very important. so the purpose of our campaign which is called talk, read, sing is to take this -- the notn of the importance of early brain development and push it out to the publ and those families who have young children or who
are caregivs of young children and phasize how important it is to interact with kids and stimulate the bin so that it grows and develops in the earliest years. and in the long run actually works to prevent the achievement gap. if we can get kids to develop their vocabularies and start out in school,ot behind their peers, th have a much better chance to succeed in school and in lie. but so the campaign really talks about -- we have two psas. 30 secon long, you can only talk so much about brain development in 30 seconds. we cut to the chase and talk about the importce of that early engagent and language stimulation in the earliest of years from the day a child is born. >> i know we can't show the psas because there are lights involved, but you have everybody interacting with the children. >> absolutely. and in every day activities, you don't -- it isn't just sitting down and reading a book to a child which is wonderful. from day one it's wonderful.
if you read 30 minutes a day with a child, not all at one time, t minutes here and ten miutes there but really consistency every day as well as using engagement opportunities to talk to your child about colors and shapes and what they are doing and what you're doing. how is your da explaining your day to your child. they are hearing your voice and may not be able to understand what you're saying but their listening voluntary kcabulary i expanding. by the time they are 3 we hope they have at least 1,000 wods. >> what can we find on the website? it's a lot of resource. >> the it is. the purpose of the ad iso drive parents to the wsite. once you get to the weite, there's an activity ceer and learning center where you can see examples of the kinds of activities that are very simple and free that you can engage in with children of all ages from infants to yong toddlers to kids who are rey for
preschool. and it's just a -- it's just a great resource for ideas when you're looking for things to do. then when you're there, you realize how simple it really is. >> we were talking about ross thompson about screens, multiple screen, one of your tsas is on texting, and not interacting with the child. >> the purpose of that ad is not to ta the evils of texng or watching television. those are not evil things in themselves, what's noticeable is here's a child standing up in a play pen looking at his mom and her back is to him and she's texting and got the tv on. it's a missed opportunity for thatanguage engagement. it's more about that and less it's not a commentary about texting. >> what kind of feedback are you getting about this campaign? >> the gratest thing -- it's one of the mos fun, wonderful things i've eer worked on in my career. the feedback has been so overwhelmingly positive. parentsre excited about it. it does a lot of things,
reinfoes wh many of them believe they are doi already but a lot through social media are sharing their ias about -- here's another ideaf how i do this at home and it worked well with my kids. he's in third grade now and at the head of his class. >> i want to ask before weun out of time. you have kits for new parents. >> yes, every mother in the state of calornia should go home from the hospital with a kit for new parents. it's one of our flagshipfirst five california, you go home because babies don't come with an instction manual. >> they don't. >> so the kit has children's books but also has information and resources for parents on what too for immunizations and vaccinations for your baby. what to do when your baby is sk. really fun activities to do with your baby. it's just -- it's something that has been so successful. people can't get enough of them. they call in and say, i've hea about your kit, how do i g
them? >> very successful. >> and you are mom and now a new grand mom. >> i am. >> did you raise your kids this way? >> i did. all of my graduate workis in literacy andanguage development. my boys were read to and sung to and talked to -- i don't know how much they loved it but i loved . and they are wonderful adults today and moldest son has a 1-year-old dghter, brooklyn, and sheas -- she's surrounded by loving adults who talk with r and read with her and sing to her. she is a kick. she is bling and engaged and hpy. i know she'll be brilliant. >> i love your passion for this. thank you so much for being re. >> my pleasure, thank you so much. >> we have to take another break. when we come back, we're going to learn howarly childhood development ultimately affects
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that exercising a baby's brain in the first year of life has a dramatic impact on their delopment. the bay area council took note that during the annual outlook conference because well he educated children will have an effect on california's economy. this report was filedin may. >> reporter: they say by the time a child enters kindergarten his orer brain is largely developed. why are business leaders gathered in san jose talking about it. >> early investment in children is a no brainer, simply a no brainer. the business community gets that. >> reporter: james is th the center for the next generation and addresse the bay area council on the importance of an early education. califoia has the highest population of young childn in the nation. groups like first five california have invested millions in early education. the organization says babies and toddlers need to get the right amount of growth support, especially those in underserved
communities. >> very small vocabularies and with much lower success levels they e up not being able to read and dropping out of school. reporter: the bay area council has joined first five california in a campaign called talk, read and sing. billboards like this one will go up in june in bay area cities nd appear on buses. >> w're telling that to moms all across t bayrea, talk to your kid, give them words, give them numbers, just talk to them. other groups including the hillary rodham clinton are involv in the campaign. those behind the campaign says if we invest in children early, we can close the achievement gap fore it ever starts. in san jose, lee an melendez, n. >> matt regan is the vice presint of policy at bay area council. explain to people a little bit abou what the council does. >> thank you, cheryl. >> the bay area council is an organization cprised the bay
area's leading business figures, ceos from the largest employers and we work on iues of public policy. our objective is to maintain the bay area a the best place in the world to live and work. we work on issues like transportation, health care and the environment >> i wouldn't expect that childhood velopment as a priority but this is a great opportunity, right? >> it doesn't seem like a natural fit for a business organization to be focusing so much attention on, but we've studied a lot of research and actually commissioned a research report of our own several years ago that shows that investing in early education is perhps the best dollar that the state of california make an ivestment in. the returns on those vestments are high as 17 to 1. >> wow. >> depeing on the demographic of the child tt you make the investment in. the highest risk children, you're looking at returns that high because these kids as they grow older, they end up in
remedial education, grade repetition, which is very expensive tohe k-12 system. then beyond to bome susceptible to much highe rates of welfar dependey, unemployment and drug use and incarcerati incarceration. >> it makes good business sense to get to them early. >> i love this campaign. this is the talk, read, sing.org. easy as that. we have little onesies here and t-shirts. explain to theolks at home what we're looking at here. >> we through fundingrom our principle funder two years ago embarked upon aneffort to try and close the word gap among primarily low income families, as professor thompson explained, children with more unfortunate backgrounds enterkind garten
are entering with a 2,000 word vocabulary a very big differential and makes it difficult for those children to bein to learn and keep up with their peers. so our objective is to close thatork gap before it happens, focusing on the first three years of life where the centers of the brain are developed language and literacy are most active, 80 prosuti 080% of brait takes place in the first three years of life. it's important to talk, read and sing to their children and by the time th reach kindergarten will be able to succeed in school and beyond in life. >> your campaign is very aggressive, not only have the kit you can get butlso the outdoor signage that will be everybody where. why is this signage so important? >> we're launching in oakla with a pilot program.
you'll see these bill boards and bus shelters going up in oakland in the next moh or so. we're partnering with a national organization called too small fail and they have a number of natioal collaborative partners, bill and hillary clinton foundatiowho you mentioned in the piece. american academy of pediatrics, sesame street, whole slew of the est and brightest in early education. this campaign hopefully wi succeed in oakland. we'll take the be pieces of it, including the clothing line and the outdoor signage, which by the way designed by silverstin, they are the folks behind the got milk commercials and bt and brightest in the advertising world. we've combined the talents of wonderful organizations to create th and hopefully we can scale it nationally with our national partners and but oakld is where the pilot is going to run, for again, launching shortly. >> i know people are going to
want -- they say, how can they get the good stuff? youave a website? >> yes, it'stalking is teaching.org. people can go on to that website and find out where the materials are available. we will be working with communit partners in oakland, clinics and hospitals and libraries and beistributing the materials to family w most need them in oakland. butt will be available to eryone. you will be able to purchase these. > so there is a fee for them, then? >> yes, for folks who like to purchase, we'll settle the money back into the program so that we can then supply them free of cost to families in needs. >> what i like about it, it kind of walks you through what y need to do with yourhild. >> yes, the purpose of the materials is to turn the world into a learning experience. what we discovered in our research and focus groups is that a lot parents talking and reading and singing to children,
notnly that, when you explain to them, they find it difficult to tie those activitieso the daily routin. they are very busy people. what we've discovered was that if you tie the request of talking reading and singing to an existing daily activity, there's a much eater propensity for those parents then talk read and sg, we supply the materials around bath time and getting dregsed with prompts on the front to give ideas for stories and t talk to their children and babies about. >> it's absolutely brilliant. thank you so much. i can't waitntil this becomes available for everybody. thank you for being here and for what you're doing. >> se. >> for more information about today's prgram, go to our website, abc7 news.com/commity. we're on facebook,lease follow me on twitter. i'm cheryl jennings, have a great week. we'll see you next time.
>> warning--please do not attempt any of the activities presented in this show. they are dangerous and could cause serious injury. hey, is that shia labeouf? >> aah! >> [groaning] >> aah! >> "what went down." today on "what went down," head games, basketball games, team sports, plus we've got moto-crunch and liquid lunch. and it's win time. we'll show how what goes up must come down...eventually.